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Overkill? Nanny and au-pair?

(11 Posts)
LongStory Sun 27-Jan-13 23:29:51

Hi I have 5 kids aged 3-12, and have really appreciated advice from this board in the past for childcare.

We have a wonderful nanny 3 days a week, but just as I was thinking it through for when the youngest starts school in September, an overseas friend contacted me and said her daughter would love to be our au pair and live in London for a year. We have a nice spare room. Bingo, I thought...

But then I started worrying about the level of experience and driving to school through London traffic, and the language, and the sheer number of children which our wonderful nanny copes with so well. My work requires 100% dedication so I can't lose confidence in my childcare support. Also I am finding new childcare challenges as the children get older, with homework and evening clubs, as DH often works evenings and I can't get them to clubs/rehearsals/school meetings etc. And school holidays and every single bl**dy time I get a letter from a club which deviates from my perfectly formed weekly plan.

So now I am thinking:

- keep the nanny and have her in charge when I'm at work
- say good bye to the cleaner and the babysitter
- ask the au pair to do the cleaning/tidying and an early evening shift to help with homework and babysitting, plus a bit extra on the holidays
- so a fairly light au-pair role, but vital back-up when I need it

If I paid £80 a week to the au-pair it would only be a little more than what I currently pay for cleaning and babysitting, but I'd need to factor in more food.

I have discussed this arrangement with both and they seem ok with it, certainly the Nanny is a 'join the party, more the merrier' sort of person. I'm a bit worried that there will be too many people involved, and that it might be overkill / a bit too posh! I'm wondering if anyone else tried this and found it did or didn't work?

stella1w Sun 27-Jan-13 23:39:13

If i had the money and space i wd do it. I got a flaming on mn about expecting my nanny to do o/t, so for me a livein au pair would work well.
Would she clean as well as your cleaner?

LongStory Sun 27-Jan-13 23:50:49

good point, probably not, and that would be a loss. But we are fairly tolerant of germs round here!

MildredH Sun 27-Jan-13 23:57:22

Also possibly worth bearing in mind the potential pitfalls of employing your friend's daughter.. Especially an employee with whom you will also live.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 28-Jan-13 00:08:44

Honestly an ap wouldn't be able to
Cope with 5 children and all their demands - esp homework - some of the things my ex dc did at 8/9yrs needed my help - esp English grammar

If your nanny is happy with an ap to help her do stuff then fine but rem ap's are meant to come over and learn English - do some cleaning and go to school and hopefully have a love for children

Does your friends daughter just want to see London and thinks living with you would be a good way to do it - or does she genuinely want to look after children and clean

I would also be wary of employing a friends child - never work for friends or family

LongStory Mon 28-Jan-13 00:20:03

Thank you. I think you are right that she would struggle with 5, but 2 will be at high school and pretty much sort themselves out, so not too impossible for the right person ... but too chancey for me.

On homework, I am assuming an aupair would be fine for helping the younger children with reading and bedtime while I support the older ones with their homework and emotional issues; there are never enough adults around at that time of day!

The parents and au-pair are thinking of coming over for a visit in the spring so we could meet up and check that everyone is compatible...

The friend isn't close, a facebook connection of someone in my class at high school, and she was keen to be an au-pair in London and work with children, so I think it is really just cutting out the agency with some level of trust. I have worked with family and friends before and not had a problem, by setting clear boundaries, so I'm not worried about that aspect.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 28-Jan-13 11:28:34

We had a nanny working alongside an au pair for three years. I think I may have posted on your other thread. Looked after similar number of children. PM if you'd like to chat.

alice298 Tue 29-Jan-13 14:11:31

We also have a nanny and an au pair. The nanny is 2 days a week while I am at work. It works fantastically well -the care of the children and the juggling is covered on all fronts. With my ap, the arrangement is that she does 7 hours of cleaning one day a week (when nanny is there) and the other 18 hours is normal childcare / helping out stuff. I pay her £100 (above average) and she is happy to clean. I would ask your ap if she wld be happy doing that - chances are, she will. Then bingo, you save a fortune!!

LongStory Tue 29-Jan-13 21:20:59

Thank you Lady Harriet and Alice, I am starting to think this could work well, with clear boundaries and responsibilities. I would much rather have gold star childcare/support than holidays and other treats.

nosferatu Wed 30-Jan-13 19:12:45

I would advise against friends too. Had a cousin over for 6 weeks to au pair for me and it was hell bringing up issues.
I got an amazing au pair at the mo for 80£ a week from Germany, found her on, plenty of au pairs applied so you can find them very easily, and recrutment is smooth on that website. I would go with a total stranger

nosferatu Wed 30-Jan-13 19:14:09

then again- yo may have a total angel. it really depends on what is she like but with tough agreement before she comes you can I am sure overcome possible problems.

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